Preventing Malpractice Claims and Strengthening the Doctor-Patient Relationship with Cultural Competence

A 2017 Medscape survey indicated that over half of responding doctors had been sued for malpractice.  The number one reason?  Failure to diagnose a medical condition, given by 31% of respondents.  Nearly half of doctors surveyed who were sued for malpractice spent between eleven and fifty hours in court, meetings with lawyers, or in other legal proceedings.  And almost half of those surveyed stated that there was no triggering event and that they were taken by surprise by the malpractice claim. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association, Lancet, and the Archives of Internal Medicine delved into the mindset of patients who filed malpractice claims using various methods, including questionnaires, deposition transcripts, and phone surveys.  Four primary reasons emerged: 1. prevention of similar incidents in the future; 2. a desire for an explanation about a harmful incident; 3. financial renumeration for pain, loss, and/or suffering or to offset future care expenses; and 4. the need to hold a doctor accountable. At the root cause of many of these malpractice claims is a breakdown in the relationship between the physician and the patient—typically due to problems with communication.  Patients complained that doctors failed to listen to them, were not clear or open in their discussions, were dismissive of the patient’s or family’s perspective, and showed a lack of understanding for their concerns.  The unifying theme that emerges...

Read More